Georgia’s economic growth is forecast to outpace the nation’s for the sixth consecutive year, making it a great state for young business professionals. The University of Georgia forecasts that the state’s GDP will increase by a healthy 3 percent in 2019 while the U.S. GDP should increase by about 2.5 percent. The report also notes an income growth in Georgia of almost 5 percent, down somewhat from the 5.4 percent in 2018 but still outpacing the nation’s 4.5 percent increase forecast for 2019.
The University of Georgia details the most influential sectors in the Peach State. The economy’s fastest-growing sector is projected to be construction, followed by education and healthcare. The report expects hospitality and tourism to rank in fourth place and business services, such as consulting, to place fifth.
Overall, Georgia’s economy appears poised for continued strong performance. “Site consultants recently ranked Georgia as the top state in which to do business for the sixth straight year, so it is not surprising that Georgia’s economic development pipeline is full,” said Terry College of Business dean Benjamin C. Ayers at the University of Georgia’s annual Georgia Economic Outlook in Atlanta.
“The buildout of new headquarters is an important factor powering Georgia’s economic growth. There are 26 companies with headquarters in Atlanta that rank in the Fortune 1000, placing Atlanta behind only New York City and Houston.”
An MBA can prove a smart investment in any climate but can be exceptionally beneficial in a growing economy like Georgia’s. Our BSchools guide “What Can I Do with an MBA Degree?” details how MBA graduates can more than double their compensation. As discussed in that guide, the University of Georgia’s Terry College reports the fourth-highest salary uplift metric in the United States, at 156 percent.
Students interested in earning an online MBA degree in Georgia have several options. The state’s top AACSB International-accredited schools have come together to provide an online MBA degree without the restrictions of set class times and locations. In this guide, we focus on five schools that participate in the Georgia WebMBA consortium and two schools not affiliated with the WebMBA effort.
Read on for profiles of these seven universities in Georgia that offer online MBA programs, and three of their best professors.
Georgia WebMBA Program
The Georgia WebMBA Program amounts to an online MBA program with a standardized curriculum offered through six of the state’s public universities in the University System of Georgia:
- Kennesaw State University – Michael J. Coles College of Business
- Columbus State University – D. Abbott Turner College of Business
- Georgia College & State University – J. Whitney Bunting College of Business
- Valdosta State University – College of Business Administration
- Georgia Southern University – Parker College of Business
- University of West Georgia
When students enroll at any one of the six participating schools, they access the same MBA curriculum (more details on this below). This guide attempts to clarify how the program apportions features applicants consider significant between WebMBA and each of the member universities.
In this profile, we lead with the commonalities between all participating universities; then we examine aspects of this program that are unique to each school.
Georgia WebMBA Commonalities
WebMBA is an accelerated program, meaning that students can complete the sparse ten-course curriculum in five consecutive semesters over 18 months. However, all students must first complete four undergraduate prerequisites: two courses in financial accounting, one quantitative methods course focusing on economic statistics, and one course in financial management. Students without undergraduate credits in these subjects will need to earn them before beginning MBA core coursework.
The Georgia WebMBA curriculum is progressive but rigid and core-exclusive. Like the MBA programs at Harvard and Stanford, the WebMBA core curriculum omits managerial economics. WebMBA also requires some contemporary topics, such as entrepreneurship, information systems, and supply chain operations management. The only non-progressive exception seems to be an organizational behavior course with a somewhat dated syllabus that fails to emphasize leadership. There are no concentrations or electives available—the core courses exclusively make up the entire curriculum.
These courses are all asynchronous and delivered entirely online; however, students must also attend an introductory, two-day immersion at the beginning of the program. Even though none of the classes are offered in a live or synchronous format, the program is nevertheless lockstep and cohort-driven.
Like the curriculum, the program’s cost appears to be the same irrespective of the university in which students enroll. However, the emphasis on affordable tuition by the consortium and individual schools, WebMBA’s tuition ranks not far below the average found among many online MBA programs. For more research and analysis, see our report, “How Much Do Online MBA Programs Cost?“
Accreditation also appears to be the same across all schools. The Georgia WebMBA program carries Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation at all the six schools.
And finally, all participating schools require applicants to have at least two years of work experience, an undergraduate degree, and GMAT scores.
Georgia WebMBA: Differences Among Universities
The most significant differences appear in enrollments, rankings, GMAT waiver policies, and admissions standards—and each participating school sets the latter two criteria individually.
Enrollment differs substantially according to each school. Kennesaw State told the U.S. News & World Report that its 2018 registration held 200 students, while Georgia Southern claimed 151, and Georgia College & State University claimed 54. Outside of those three, the other schools have very small enrollments, with only 24 students at Columbus State and 15 at Valdosta State.
More noticeable differences appear in the schools’ rankings. The consortium’s website claims that “six top-ranked business schools in Georgia” offer the WebMBA. However, that statement is misleading. Instead, Kennesaw is the only school with rankings well above all the other schools, and two authorities ranking Kennesaw as the top online MBA program in Georgia. The U.S. News & World Report ranks Kennesaw #21 among its best online MBA programs, and Poets & Quants ranks the school #26. Kennesaw is the only Georgia WebMBA school to appear on this list.
After Kennesaw, the U.S. News & World Report then ranks Columbus State #51, Georgia College & State at #58, Georgia Southern at #66 and Valdosta in the cellar, below #215. We find these different rankings curious, given that the curriculum is identical among all these schools.
Those ranking differences might appear because variances in the admission requirements result in student bodies with very diverse qualifications. For example, Kennesaw uses a candidate’s overall GPA or their GPA during their last 60 hours (whichever is higher) when making both admission and GMAT waiver decisions. At Valdosta State, students first must be accepted by the university’s graduate school. Then, to win entry into the MBA program, candidates only need a minimum 400 GMAT score and 2.5 GPA.
- Locations: Kennesaw State University (Kennesaw, GA), Columbus State University (Columbus, GA), Georgia College & State University (Milledgeville, GA), Valdosta State University (Valdosta, GA), Georgia Southern University (Savannah, GA)
- Accreditation: AACSB International
- Format: Online with required introductory two-day immersion in Atlanta
- Tuition: $740 per credit
- Program length: 18 months
Other Featured Business Schools in Georgia with Online MBA Programs
Mercer University offers a 36-credit online MBA program that enrolls only 64 students and targets working professionals looking to upgrade their skills. Students can complete a 12-hour specialization in marketing, healthcare management, finance, general business, human resources, or economics. The school requires a traditional set of core topics with a particular emphasis on economics—in both foundation and business core courses—and ethics. Stetson also includes topics that no longer appear in the business core at many schools, like managerial economics and business law.
Similar to the WebMBA foundation courses, Mercer requires three waiver-eligible foundation courses before entry; those include accounting and finance, economic statistics, and principles of economics. Students can also opt for several dual degrees. The U.S. News & World Report ranked this program #70 in its online MBA programs chart, and entrants had a 523 average GMAT score, although only nine percent provided scores.
|Location: Macon, GA|
|Accreditation: AACSB International|
|Tuition: $755 per credit|
|Program length: 18 months|
GSW requires four foundation courses before students begin the program; these are in accounting, finance, economic statistics and principles of management. Beyond that, it is challenging to find any information on the school’s website about the curriculum. Furthermore, the school does not appear in U.S. News & World Report, so we relied on The Economist to fill in knowledge gaps.
Core courses include managerial economics and international business; a secondary menu requiring students to select two electives includes labor-management relations, nonprofit marketing and the history and philosophy of management—all classes unusual in MBA programs.
|Location: Americus, GA|
|Accreditation: AACSB International|
|Tuition: $257 per credit|
|Program length: 24 months|
Hybrid MBA Programs in Georgia
Hybrid programs blend online and on-campus instruction, networking, and career support. They allow students the flexibility of an online curriculum with the connection and support of an on-campus one. Hybrid programs differ from online programs in that they have in-person and on-campus activities baked into the entire program. Hybrid students should expect two to three requirements per semester (compared to one or two per program for online students). These in-person activities often take the form of on-site intensives over a weekend either on campus or at a school’s satellite facility.
Candidates whose location or employment commitments prevent them from attending a full-time residential program but who still want in-person instruction, networking, and career support may benefit from hybrid programs like those offered by the following universities:
- Emory University – Goizueta Business School (Executive MBA)
- University of Georgia – Terry College of Business (Executive MBA)
- Augusta University – Hull College of Business